Emailinglist Spam A Sad Example

I just glanced at my DataPortability email digest and apparently they got some sexy girls hot sexy pictures and nude videos going on in there.   WTF?

Uh… 

Is that Portable Data?

We are constantly trying to come up with new ways to battle those entities whom have absolutely nothing to contribute.  

In the coming age of more intelligent computing, within the cloud of service providers and throughout the Web Of Data or Semantic Web, will the penetration of irrelevant solicitors be the same?  

Surely there will always be Spam, but will structured data and the services that utilize it help to make barriers, at least of relevance? Or at all?  

Just some shit to think about.

Sebastopol Trash Pick-Up 08-09 Plan To Clean Sebastopol Country Roads

Starting August or September, depending on the comments I get on this blog entry, I will begin ridding the street I live on of trash, Watertrough Road, Sebastopol, CA 95472.  I imagine it will take me about a week of going out every day, for 2-4 hours on foot, and even occasionally picking some pieces of junk up with my minivan and hauling it to the dump or finding a way to recycle it.  I want to clean Watertrough Rd completely of every last candy-wrapper and cigarette butt.  

I would like to make a “movement” out of this.  Let’s start here in West County, and the rest of the world can copy us.

I want to set up an infrastructure for helping other people do similar cleanup work along our country roads. Now that we have the internet, let’s put it to some good!

Please be interested in this.  If you’re interested in helping in any way, please send an email to

sebastopolroads@gmail.com

Love,

Andrew A. Peterson, your neighbor.

Please Comment below to show your support!

Ear Fatigue? Creative Constipation? Laziness? Fear Of Failure?

The two pieces of music I have been working on for the past month or so are both at a sort of stand-still.  They are great pieces, and they have lots of potential and they may both be some of the best things I’ve ever made, but for some reason I am having a bitch of a time getting any further with them.  This is a two-part problem at least.

Ear Fatigue?

There is no official definition of ear fatigue that I can find.  As of writing this, there’s no entry for it on the Wikipedia, which is surprising.  For this reason, I can’t be sure if what I’m experiencing is ear fatigue, or just being really sick of what I’m working on…  I’ve described what I often go thru when working on a piece for too long, non-stop, as being similar to sun spots.  You know how when you look at the sun or a bright light, it makes an impression on your vision that takes a while to go away?  Well after working on a piece of music for a while I start to get something like that, but it’s in the part of my mind that’s listening.  I can’t be objective anymore and I start to get really confused by what I’m hearing.  It hurts in a strange way.  So far, this seems to mainly only effect the same piece of music, that’s to say, when I jump over to working on something else, I can work just fine.  Actually working on something else seems to almost cure the ‘sun spots’ from the original piece.

I often work on a piece of music for days or weeks at a time.  The pain seems to carry over from one day to the next.  For this reason, I doubt sometimes that this is a physiological thing.  It might just be discreetly psychological… Maybe I’m just sick of hearing it?  The problem with that theory is that, for one, I actually am generally really excited by the stuff I’m working on, and two, listening to store-bought music has never had this affect on me.  When Kid A from Radiohead came out, I probably listened to that thing on loop for a month or so.  And generally, music that I dislike, I tend to become for accepting of over time, if I listen to it over and over and over.  So I do think it has to do with the process of being engaged with the piece as the creator, more than just listening in general. 

Creative Constipation? Fear?

Another part of my problem with how I try to work is that a piece I’m working on gets to a point when I really love it and don’t want to damage it.  So I end up spending most of my energy an hit-or-miss small changes that I usually throw out… What ends up happening more often than not is that I have to close up the project and wait six months or so, basically til I’ve forgotten all about it, then open it up with a fresh ear for it’s greatness and flaws, for what I imagine could be done with it, and above all, with little fear of ‘ruining’ it. 

I hate this about myself, but this may just be the way I am.

Just a few thought.  Comments welcome, as always.

Lying To Get Free Movie Tickets (A Rant About Ethics and Community)

The other day I tagged along with my Niece and Mother to see the latest Narnia Film Adaptation.  I’m not generally very interested in those kinds of films but nonetheless, I went along.  Right before the very end of the film, when all that was left to be seen was the inevitable end-of-the-show-happy-moment, the part of these movies that I usually hate the most-when everything is happy again and probably someone does something silly and all the characters laugh in a loving way; long after all the bad guys have lost the big battle and all the characters are wearing fresh clean clothes again-the projector went down.  I took the initiative to go inform the management of the theater and then returned to my seat for an uncomfortable spell in the dark, while the various strangers in the room increasingly starting taking the liberty to attempt to entertain everyone else with their comments about the predicament.  

After about ten minutes, the manager came into the theater and announced that they could not fix the projector and that she’d be happy to give us all free passes that we could use anytime to see another movie. Personally, I was glad because I had already seen all that I wanted to and then some, and so this, to me, was like a twofer.  

Next thing I knew, I was a member of a mob in the lobby waiting for my turn to get a free-movie pass.  The people ahead of me in line (if you could have called it a line), began to present themselves to the manager in groupings that increasingly had no personage of evidence:

“Two please.” said one individual.

“Four.” Said another.

The mob had gradually learned that the manager was not holding us accountable for how many passes we were asking for.  The earliest people I saw get up to the front of the line would point back into the crowd and say “One for me and one for my friend…” But by the time it was my turn, the process had morphed and it was clear to me that I could have inflated the number in my party.  Either the manager didn’t care, or handing the mob was a bit overwhelming.  Perhaps it was some combination of factors which lead her to not question the mob.

I thought about it seriously: Should I lie to get extra free movie passes?  When it was my turn, I just told her the truth.  I got my party’s three passes and headed for the door.  

Outside, while I was waiting for my Niece and mother to come out, I observed as a baby-boomer aged lady urged her daughter, who was about my age, to go back in and ask for more free-movie passes.

“They don’t know we’re together.  They’ll give you as many as you ask for!” The boomer explained to her daughter.  The daughter seemed to feel put-upon by her mother’s idea.  Eventually, she just flat out refused her mother’s persuasion. 

Standing off to the side, I had an urge to interrupt them and give the Boomer a lecture on ethics.  The boomer had an expensive hair-job and was wearing the clothes of an affluent women her age.  It bothered me for some reason that this lady, who probably went to college and likely considers herself to be an intelligent person, would be urging her daughter to pull off some petty little act of dishonesty like this.  I didn’t intervene, and when the daughter finally put her foot down to her mother’s idea, I felt proud of her.  It was as if we were kin in some sort of battle between generations.    

Movie theaters don’t make money on admission to films.  My understanding is that this is a fairly universal truth here in the states.  They make their money on selling concessions which is why, for one, a soft drink costs about $4, and two, they wont let you have a cup of tap water if you ask for one.  The theaters generally break even on the admission after paying the studious such a high cost to “rent” the films. Following this line of thinking, it is quite possible that the theater would make even more money from us on popcorn and soda if we were to come back and see two free movies when you compare it to how much money they would make in concessions if we were only given one free movie pass each, since the films that are playing in each theater are going to be playing there regardless of whether or not anyone is watching them, and since after the first week a film runs, attendance tends to be fairly low anyhow.  

My reason, however, for refusing to lie to the manager of the theater, has nothing to do with the theater’s profit.

My reasoning is this:  If at some point during the night, the theater manager was able to see that the number of passes given out was higher than the number of tickets sold, it would say to her “Some of those people lied.”  On the other hand, if the number were the same it would say to her “None of those people lied to me to get a free ticket.”  I believe that it is possible to change the way people think they should behave.  If you consider that the manager herself, may have been someone who would lie to get a free-movie pass, or commit some other such trivial scam, you may want to consider also, that perhaps the reason she believes this is appropriate is because she witnesses this kind of thing being acted out by other people. On the other hand, if she had the experience of witnessing an entire mob of people waiting to get free-movie passes, none of whom decided to lie about what was owed to them, perhaps she would begin to believe that the world wasn’t so full of liars.  Perhaps she would even change her behavior to be more in keeping of what the status quo seems to her to be.  

I believe that people are always learning how to behave. I believe that our behavior toward one another, either constructive or destructive, has an effect on the values of the other members of our communities.  It is easy to make one person at a time think that the community is filled with liars, thieves, and otherwise selfish people.  Just lie to them, steal from them, or cut them off in traffic.  On the other hand, every interaction we have with another human being is an opportunity to undo some of the damage and cynicism that’s already out there.     

Think about it. 

 

Blogoshpere, Meet Chris Phillips

For years, my good friend Chris Phillips has dazzled me with his countless stories about his adventures. He is Bipolar and/or Schizoaffective since his first psychotic break in his early twenties or so. Because of this, his stories are nicely sprinkled with demons and divinity, loonie-bins, jails, vagrancy, magic, intuition and desperation, but through his pleasant approach to looking at his life, and the down-to-earth, articulate and even comical approach to his story-telling, there is always a sense of hope or connection in his stories, sometimes directly, and sometimes through his observations about people and the forgiveness he has had to maintain (for himself as well as the world around him), I suspect in order to survive.

I’m bringing this up because he called me the other night and told me that he has begun to write his own life story. He’s blogging about the events of his life over at ChrisThomasPhillips.WordPress.com.

This stuff is so fun to read! One of the first ones he posted is about trying to have sex with his mother’s house plants.  Really.  It’s interesting stuff–strange, but also very funny and very relatable.  You should go check it out.

I met Chris ten or more years ago at the beginning of one of his most recent manic episodes. He wasn’t fun to be around because he would never shut up about the shamanism he was pursuing and a bunch of other really annoying and over-done, overzealous baloney. I didn’t know at the time that I was seeing him in a manic state. I thought he was just an extremely high-energy person. He disappeared from our house for a while during during the peak of his mania and soon after, I observed the severe depression he went through on the other side of his cycle. He was sleeping on a couch in our garage, barely getting up to eat or shit, and having no desire to even talk to anyone for I guess, what must have been about a month.

Over time, I got to know him in his “normal” stage, in between the depression and mania he had been going through in 1-year cycles.

A year or two later, I reconnected with him at a “bad time,” and suffered through his unwanted presence in my life as his illness was beginning to take him over the edge. Truthfully, at the time, I was glad to see him go once his mania finally carried him off on some random adventure, leading ultimately to a mental hospital (rinse, repeat).

But a few years later, after he finally got put on an effective combination of prescriptions, I built a great friendship with him. I’ve learned a lot about him and his Illness and enjoyed his company and his beautiful songs and especially his stories. He has become one of my dearest friends and I wouldn’t trade him for anything. I regret that there was ever a time when I wanted him to disappear. If only I had known then what I know now, maybe I could have helped him. But at least we got more amazing stories out of him going nuts back then.

Homemade Absinthe Recipe, No Still Required.

Some friends and I just finished a batch of Absinthe.  It came out pretty good, and it definitely has enough Wormwood or enough of something to give a nice effect, beyond the basic alcohol buzz.  I guess it’s similar to doing a tiny bit of cocaine.  It’s a slight stimulant feeling along with a relaxed, un-anxiousness.  It’s pleasant for sitting around and chatting with a few friends.  

The taste OK.  Wormwood is very bitter and this stuff tastes a lot better when you add a little piece of lemon peel.  To serve, you add 1 shot of this stuff to 5 shots of ice-cold water.  The next batch we make will have a few revisions, mainly the introduction of Citron, Increased amount of Anise and or Fennel and the removal of White Sage altogether.  The White Sage is too strong and its presence is offensive to my two friends more than it is to me.  I’m fine with letting it go.

Here’s the recipe as we made it, and the instructions after.  

  • 750 ml bottle of EverClear 151 Proof
  • 1 oz Grande Wormwood
  • 1 Tablespoon Anise Seed
  • 1 Tablespoon Fennel Seed
  • 1 Teaspoon Lemon Balm
  • 1 Teaspoon White Sage :(
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Nettle Leaf
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Corriander Seeds
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Caroway Seeds
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Licorice Root
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Calamus
  • 5 Cardamon Pods
  • 2 Large Fresh Spear Mint Leaves
  • 1 Large Fresh Basil Leaf
  • 2 Large Stars, Star Anise

Instructions

  1. Put one Ounce of Wormwood in a bottle of 151 Proof Everclear.  Store in a dark place for one week (7 full days).  Shake the bottle at least once every day.  By the 7th day, practically all the Wormwood should have stopped floating.  The liquid will be very dark green.
  2. Strain the Wormwood out of the liquid with a coffee filter and throw it away (or use it to start a fire in your fireplace).  At this point you might want to taste the non-flavored, Wormwood-only liquor.  This will help you to get a sense of what the Wormwood does to the flavor.  It’s bitter.  You’ve been warned.  To taste mix 1:5 with water.
  3. Add all the herbs to the liquid.  We ground them with a coffee grinder, but I think the 151 alcohol is strong enough to penetrate the various seeds and leaves to extract the flavorings, even without grinding.
  4. Return the bottle to a dark place for 2 more whole days, shaking whenever you remember to.
  5. Strain out the herbs.
  6. Enjoy.

To serve, pour 5 parts ice-cold water over a sugar cube on a slotted spoon into 1 part Absinthe.  The drink will be about as strong as wine, alcohol-wise.  After you try it, notice how much better it tastes with a piece of lemon peel added.  1-2 Glasses definitely does something special.  All and all, this recipe is a success.  We will tinker with it and then eventually consider moving on to a filtering and or distilling process to improve the product.

Proposed Revisions

  • Remove White Sage
  • Increase Anise (or Fennel or Licorice Root or some combination of all)
  • Add Citron (or possibly Lemon Peel at flavoring stage)

Speed Up FireFox! This Makes FireFox Faster

I learned this from the Tekzilla Daily show (from Veronica Belmont who is way hot).

  1. type about:config into your firefox url address field.
  2. Right-click (or control-click if you’re on a mac) on the blank space
  3. Select “New” and from the sub-menu,  “Integer
  4. Name it nglayout.initialpaint.delay
  5. Set the value to 0 (zero)

This will make Firefox load webpages more like Safari does.  You will see the page instantly and slower-loading parts of the page will come up later.

 

OMG

 

Thank you Tekzilla!